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The Brazilian Civil Rights Framework for the Internet (Marco Civil da Internet): The drafting process and some key issues

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What is the Marco Civil da Internet? This law establishes principles, guarantees and rights for Internet users: citizens, companies and government. Among other topics, this legislation establishes principles for freedom of speech, privacy protection, log file and network neutrality.

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The Brazilian Civil Rights Framework for the Internet (Marco Civil da Internet): The drafting process and some key issues

  1. 1. The Brazilian Civil Rights Framework for the Internet Marco Civil da Internet Samuel Barros PhD Candidate in Political Communication at Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) Member of the Center for Advanced Studies in Digital Democracy (CEADD) Visiting Researcher at MIT Center for Civic Media MIT Center for Civic Media | December 11, 2014 The drafting process and some key issues
  2. 2. What is the Marco Civil da Internet? This law establishes principles, guarantees and rights for Internet users: citizens, companies and government. Among other topics, this legislation establishes principles for freedom of speech, privacy protection, log file and network neutrality. The Marco Civil da Internet translated to the English is available here: https://www.publicknowledge.org/documents/marco-civil-english-version
  3. 3. As Tim Berners-Lee said, the Marco Civil: […] balances the rights and responsibilities of the individuals, governments and corporations who use the Internet. Of course, there is still discussion around some areas, but ultimately the draft Bill reflects the Internet as it should be: an open, neutral and decentralized network, in which users are the engine for collaboration and innovation. Commendably, the Bill has among its foundations the guarantee of human rights such as privacy, of citizenship and the preservation of the diversity and the social purpose of the web. Available at: http://webfoundation.org/2014/03/marco-civil- statement-of-support-from-sir-tim-berners-lee/
  4. 4. The drafting process of the Marco Civil da Internet The project started from two online consultations carried out by the Brazilian Justice Ministry. The consultations held in 2009 and 2010 resulted in a bill. 1827 comments were received from citizens, but also companies, public institutions and civil society organizations. Available at: http://culturadigital.br/marcocivil/
  5. 5. In August 2011, President Dilma Rousseff sent the bill to the Chamber of Deputies. The lower house opened a consultation at the platform “e-Democracia”. On this website, it was possible to participate in forums or make specific suggestions for each bill’s article. Available at: http://edemocracia.camara.gov.br/web/marco-civil- da-internet
  6. 6. The bill was approved by the Senate in April 2014. The presidential approval was announced a day later, when happened the NETMundial in Sao Paulo, an event to discuss Internet governance around the world. Available at: http://netmundial.br/
  7. 7. Source: REGATTIERI, L. L.; MALINI, F.; HERKENHOFF, G. MarcoCivil: Visualizing the Civil Rights Framework for the Internet in Brazil. 2014. Analysis of the hashtag "#MarcoCivil" on Twitter, between July and December 2013: 46,55% of the network was in favor of the vote of the law (blue network); 17,39% was against (red network); 20,56% of tweets was posted by media and specialists (green network); 4,1% was posted by foreign organizations (yellow network).
  8. 8. On YouTube, comedians and Internet celebrities commented and expressed their views about the Marco Civil. Some comments of popular people in the SNS's contributed to the spread of this topic to a wider audience.
  9. 9. During the Marco Civil legislation process, the journalism was especially important for two reasons: 1. To explain the purpose and effects of the law. In the public sphere, the journalism provided content for a qualified discussion; 2. To increase the visibility.
  10. 10. In April 2014, the Avaaz.org opened a petition which got 300.000 signatures in 48 hours. This initiative was supported by the musician and former Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil. Available at: http://www.avaaz.org/po/o_fim_da_internet_livre_senado/
  11. 11. 1. What disciplines have studied this topic (Marco Civil da Internet)? 2. In each discipline, what are the main issues? What questions need special attention? Questions
  12. 12. Internet Governance Results Net Neutrality. The main contribution of the Civil Marco da Internet was the guarantee of net neutrality. The law recognizes Internet connection quality as a right. Nevertheless, the Presidency can break the neutrality in two situations: 1) technical requirements essential to the adequate provision of services and applications; and 2) prioritization of emergency services. However, this procedure should be done with transparency and equality among users. The law does not allow the ISPs to make contracts with content producers to offer privileged traffic.
  13. 13. Drafting process of legislation on Internet via the Internet. The drafting process of the Civil Marco da Internet was an innovative experience in the Brazilian context and can bring inspiration for legislation on this subject through the same procedure around the world. However, it is necessary to understand how the contributions of citizens are received by the political system, which actors participate and which do not participate, the plurality of political positions represented, the publicity and transparency.
  14. 14. Fundamental rights. The Marco Civil da Internet recognized two types of rights/principles: i) Rights that are already guaranteed by other laws, were reaffirmed for the Internet: freedom of speech, protection of privacy and personal data, human rights and business freedom. ii) New rights that needed specific legislation: preservation of network neutrality, preservation of stability and security of the network, responsibility of users, access providers and producers according their activities. Rights
  15. 15. Responsibility for content posted by third parties. The Marco Civil understands that websites and applications that provides an online environment for participation have no responsibility for what users post. Web sites and applications will be held liable only if they do not take out content after a court order. This is important to ensure freedom of expression. Before, for example, newspaper sites excluded controversial content posted by readers because they feared lawsuits.
  16. 16. Users Log file. From the point the point of view of activists, the main problem of the Civil Marco da Internet is the requirement to file the records of users. ISPs must file for 1 year the connection logs (IP, date, time), but are forbidden to save URLs. The sites and applications must file for six months the IP and the URLs accessed by its users. The law states that records must be kept confidential and security and can only be delivered to public authorities after a court order, but many experts consider this an abuse of surveillance and a lack of respect for the presumption of innocence. Privacy (data protection)
  17. 17. Investment. The Marco Civil reduces legal uncertainties, which encourages innovation and the development of new online businesses. The most important issue was the recognition that sites and applications are not responsible for the use and content posted by its users. Before the existence of this law, Brazilian courts made some decisions that have hurt companies because of illegal content posted by its users. Economy
  18. 18. The Marco Civil is an example for other countries, especially on the issue of net neutrality. The challenge is to build a law that respects the characteristics of each country, while guaranteeing civil rights and promotes the online citizenship. Conclusion Thank you! Samuel Barros samuel.barros77@gmail.com samuelb@mit.edu

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